By yesterday (Saturday, November 27th), my post-Turkey haze had lifted enough and holiday/home chore duties had been cleared enough to make some time for a ride. Heaven knows I needed it! The Wood-man and I determined on Friday night that we would get out and put a few miles into our legs this weekend…
The cold weather ushered into our area by several high pressure systems sitting to our west cleared the skies but saw our coldest temps of the year arrive. The Wood-man and I headed out from Sherry Shazam’s abode around 2:00 p.m. in what I’m guessing we’ll consider balmy temperatures by February. On Saturday, the 43 degree temperature didn’t feel so much balmy as it did just cold. It was difficult to tell just how warmly to dress for the ride.
I was in my Pearl Izumi winter weight full length bibs with SmartWool socks overlaying a base layer of UnderArmour turtleneck mid-weight long sleeved top under a winter weight Pearl Izumi riding jersey. Topping that off with my Pearl Izumi windbreaker and winter gloves would have seemed to be sufficient. Initially , it wasn’t… I was still cold as we started off and wished that I had my silk under-gloves along for the ride and my booties over my Specialized shoes.
Our ride was to take us into northern Haywood County along NC 209 and Riverside Drive by way of Iron Duff and Frog Holler. It became apparent quite quickly that we were going to be accompanied by that nefarious ride encroacher “Headwind Harry”, whom I’ve written about from time to time.
As we made our way down NC 209 toward I-40 and our intersection with Iron Duff Road, “Harry” was blowing mightily in our face challenging each stroke of the pedal. We seemed to be working far harder than necessary for our current speed. “Harry” must have been riding in on the tails of the northeasterly arriving high pressure system. I’m guessing he caught an isobar in N. Dakota and picked up momentum as he arrived here in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
A few of the coves and trees alongside the road would give us some brief respite as we descended toward the Pigeon River. At one point, I heard the Wood-man yelling out something and when I glanced back I was being targeted by two loose dogs as they seemingly zeroed in on an intersection point along my path. The shout out gave me the chance to adjust my speed and throw off the dogs intended plan, whatever that might be. They gave chase briefly and then turned their attention to the Wood-man.
Along this section of Iron Duff we were well protected from the efforts of “Headwind Harry” and was able to roll smoothly down the road until a left hand turn in the road brought us back fully into “Harry’s” face. The wind literally held me up going downhill to the point that I had to pedal to keep the bike stabilized.
(The Wood-man crossing the Pigeon River)
Remounting our bikes, we headed “up river” and back toward NC 209. “Harry’s” efforts were temporarily blocked by the emergence of “Slipstream Sallie”, who provided us with some nice pedaling along the river. The sun was warm and I actually managed to break a sweat briefly. I do not recall being passed by a single vehicle along Riverside. The Wood-man and I were able to ride two abreast and chat as we spun our way up the river.
Much too quickly, we were back on NC 209 and heading south toward home. I was aware of the time and knew I needed to be making tracks for home so I could get our portion of the evening meal into the oven and prepped for the short trip to my sister’s for the Yount side of the family Thanksgiving celebration. My nieces, with their significant others were all home and this was to be our first chance to meet our new “great-nephew” Jimmy.
So, the Wood-man and I kept the pedals rolling and made our way back to Sherry Shazam’s by way of NC 209 and Francis Farm Road. In the end, we had ridden 25 miles and, I daresay, it felt like 50 miles given the amount of time we were accompanied by “Headwind Harry.”
I’m hoping for at least one additional ride to close out November as my mileage for this month is way, way down. It hasn’t been this low on a monthly basis since February. As in all things, time will tell…